TEXAS COMMUNITY RAISES MONEY SO CHILD MAY "STARVE"

January 31, 1994
Media Contact:Debbie Bangledorf
Phone: (410) 223-1731
E-mail: Dbangle@welchlink.welch.jhu.edu

Ten-year-old Maegan Turner used to have up to 25 seizures a day. Standard medication did not help her condition -- it increased her seizures to nearly 80 per day. Maegan's parents, Kyle and Vemetta Turner of Grand Prairie, Texas heard about doctors at Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Children's Center successfully treating children's seizures with an unusual diet -- one that requires total fasting for the first 48 hours. The diet is high in fat and low in carbohydrate and protein. Most of the calories are in the form of heavy cream and butter. No sugar is.allowed. The diet is rigid and requires strict supervision.

"We don't yet know exactly why or how it works," says pediatric neurologist John Freeman, M.D. "We only know that it works. We hope to do the research that will tell us the biochemical mechanisms involved. For now, we are pleased the diet is making kids well."

Unfortunately, Maegan's insurance coverage was dropped as a result of her pre-existing condition. That's when the community of Grand Prairie intervened. Friends, neighbors, Maegan's Sunday School class and complete strangers contributed. A garage sale of donated items, advertised in the church bulletin, netted $3,200. "People paid $20 and more for a five dollar item," Kyle says. American Airlines donated the family's airfare to Baltimore.

Maegan is now at home after an initial visit to the Johns Hopkins Children's Center where doctors say she responded positively to the diet. Maintaining the diet regimen is the big job for the Turners now.

To interview Maegan and her family, or specialists at the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, call me at (410) 955-2476 or call Jo Martin at (410) 955-8662.


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